TOEFL – READING COMPREHENSION TIPS!

RC TOEFL – READING COMPREHENSION TIPS!

The first Section that you will have in TOEFL iBT exam is the Reading Section. The Reading Section of TOEL iBT measures your ability to read and apprehend academic based passages in English. You have to have a strong and effective Reading Skills that will help you achieve high Score in the Reading Sectopn. As we discussed in our previous TOEFL iBT Format Blog; with its 4 Sectional division of Reading, Listening, Speaking & Writing, in my TODAYS BLOG, we will be learning about the 1st Section of READING SKILLS & its STRATEGIES.

There are 3 main purposes for Academic Reading in TOEFL iBT:

1. Reading to find related information

2.Understanding the Basic comprehension

3. Reading to learn

The Reading Section in TOEFL iBT consists of 3-5 Passages; each Passage is about 500-700 words long. Each Reading passage is followed by 12 – 14 questions related to the passage. The complete time frame for the reading Section is 60 – 80 Minutes, depending on the number of passages appear.

The total time dedicated to all the passage is for 60 -80 minutes for reading and answering the questions, this time as mention varies depending on the number of Passages that appear going up to maximum of 80 Minutes. The system will automatically stop you after the time ends, so you must be very attentive on the time. Thus, you must be not only good at reading and grasping the details of the passage but also pretty quickly in it.

 bookkeeping-tips10 Strategies for Reading Comprehension:

1) When you have at least 3 month in hand: I suggest you Read, Read & Read a lot. Keep a regular habit of reading English Newspaper that will particularly enhance your reading skills. Emphasis on academic based reading particularly, from university textbooks or other materials. Don’t just read on topics that interest you. Your Reading Comprehension passage comes from wide range of Topics, Therefore, expand your reading topics, whether is suits your interests of NOT, whether its boring or interesting, make it a point that you read from different subjects & topics like History, Arts, Sociology, science, Finance, Social science, Business journals, Archeology, Geography, Economics, and any others. Academic texts, apart from textbooks, these could be found in variety of articles in various Publications like Nat Geo Magazines etc. and academic publications Or on the Internet or your university libraries.

2) Strengthen your vocabulary: When reading any topic on different subjects you should make your own set of vocabulary. Improve your vocabulary by starting with Root Prefixes & Suffixes first, have a grip over your Root Words, the origin of these words, this you will find in my previous Blog on VOCABULARY. Then make separate list, organize your list in topics for better results may be alphabetically. Study through Flash cards, there are lots of flashcards available by various publications like Barron’s, Kaplan & Princton, study them when you are travelling in Train, Bus, Or Car make best use of your travel time. Or you can make your own flashcards to help you learn those set of Vocabulary. Use the words learned in your writings and speaking section of your TOEFL / SAT / GRE OR GMAT.

3) Take rough notes: You are provided with a rough sheet to take notes on them, make full use of it – take notes on that paper. It is an absolute essential element, as it’s difficult to remember all facts and details from a reading text in order to answer the questions. You don’t want to waste your time in searching details over & over again in the passage. So, the best thing to do is to keep taking note with line numbers for reference. While skimming and reading the texts you should jot down all key facts and details so find them when, you need them.

4) Skim the Passage: Skimming is reading the passage in about 30 seconds, just an over all look on the passage. Skimming means having a quickly glance of the Passage to obtain very first idea / imprint on what the passage is about, or get a rough idea of what is its main idea of it. Train yourself to skim quickly through the passage, without wasting much of your time and by identifying the main point & key words in the passage. Taking notes will help you sail through this.

5)  Read Passage after skimming : Once your skimming is done, read the Passage carefully looking for details & facts. Look for key words & Phrases mentioned in the passage. Particularly the 3 Major types of transition Words: Connection, Progression & Contradiction, along with them look for Phrases, idioms and Adjective words. It will enlighten you with author’s opinion and point of view. As only skimming is not enough. Reading it more carefully, but don’t forget you do not have much time. Keep taking notes; make it a habit whenever you solve any practice test. You need to understand the ClassificationOR Types of Passages like – classification, Rhetorical Type, Cause & effect, Persuasive, Factual Type, Detailed type, compare or contrast, Narrative, Problem OR solution, Sarcastic Type, etc.

6) Make an intelligent guess the word meaning: Use your knowledge of Prefixes, Root & Suffixes in order to identify the meaning of the word from the passages; refer to its context to get the over all meaning of it. Guessing the words from the context is very easy, as it must not be a dictionary meaning. You save on time and it its very quick.

7)  Practice, Practice & Practice a lot: Practicing in a proper exam environment will help you deal with exam pressure better. Try to take a minimum of 5 Full-length Test before your main TOEFL Exam. You need to always remember that TOEFL is a standardized test. This means it always follows the same format. Keep practicing tests to familiarize yourself with the format and testing conditions and keeping track of your time.

There are lots of Free Online Testing site to help you attain good score in respective sections like:

1) http://www.testden.com/challenge/free-toefl.asp

2) http://www.4tests.com/toefl

8)  Remember: That all the answer are present in the Passage, you are not expected to answer from your opinion. Through the Reading Comprehension it tests your ability to understand and comprehend ideas related to the passage. Hence focus on reading & cognizing the over all idea of the passage.

9) As discussed earlier understand and keep taking note with line numbers so you can quickly reach that part, Note down the Main Topic or its Main idea and the Key words / points or Phrases when reading the passages, and use your notes for answering the questions.

10) Read the questions careful, remember if you interpret the meaning of the question wrong, you will choose a wrong answer, so be careful! However, remember that the answer to all the questions are in the information provided in the passages itself. Try to answer these questions using what you have understood from the read passages.

If you want to get a superb score in the TOEFL Reading Section my advice – Keep Practicing!

toefl-etsALL THE BEST for your TOEFL EXAM !!

See you in my next Blog on the Different TYPES of QUESTION & and its approach, under the TOEFL READING SECTION, which will help you score high in READING PASSAGES.

Till then Adios mi amigos !! 😀

Shraddha

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GRE Preparation- General study plan/ tips to crack GRE

GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is the test required for higher education especially studying abroad in the USA and Canada. The test comprises of three sections – Analytical writing, Verbal section (30 questions) and Quantitative section (28 questions). The total score is out of 1600. GRE scores are crucial as they are one of the deciding factors for getting into a good university abroad, for scholarship considerations and also for granting visa.

It is advisable that you start your GRE preparations at least three months in advance of the test date. GRE requires tremendous practice and it is imperative that a student has had enough time to solve various CATs (Computer adaptive tests) in order to build one’s confidence and get a general idea of the actual test.

Detailed below are some of the tips to crack GRE ::

1. Practice writing essays

Your analytical writing section consists of two sections. The first one is a 45 minute essay writing section where you are asked to give your perspective on a given topic. This section evaluates how you articulate your ideas and checks whether you have understood the topic given to you. The second section is a 30 minute argument task where a statement is given and you have to evaluate it. Find the underlying flaws of the argument and put them forth in a lucid way. Remember you are NOT to give your opinion in this section.

The argument task is actually the easiest of the two and therefore more scoring. Just place your argument in a clear and mellifluous fashion and that is the job half done. However it goes without saying that to accomplish this, a lot of practice is mandatory and therefore students are advised to practice at least one essay each of both the sections every single day.

2. Master your vocabulary

To do well in the verbal section of the GRE it is most important that you master your vocabulary. It is strongly advisable to postpone your GRE if you are not thorough with your vocabulary. Students who are weak in verbal Do Not Panic, start building your vocabulary well in advance.

3. Review your Basic Math

Go through your school math books and brush your formulae. GRE requires more of logic than lengthy calculations and is therefore trickier. Make sure that you understand the nuances and eliminate your weaknesses. Practice is the only way to achieve this to perfection.

It is strongly advisable that students who are weak in either verbal or quant should get professional coaching so as to get complete guidance and training in order to get a high GRE score.

Conquer Those Fears for the exams.

Many students ask me: “Sir, I am a student from vernacular medium. Will I be able to score good in SAT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL or IELTS?” Another question is posed to me very frequently: “Sir, I am very weak at mathematics. Should I prepare for SAT, GRE or GMAT?” My simple answer to these questions is: “If you ask me WHETHER, I will not be interested. But if you ask me HOW, I will be more than eager to put extra efforts so that you may overcome this hurdle.”
I am not saying that these questions are irrelevant. On the contrary, these are very important questions. But, should one give up the idea of going abroad for higher studies just because his/her first language is not English or he/she is not comfortable with mathematics? Any one has to put some efforts for the tests discussed above. And the students who are weaker than average, will have to put some extra efforts. But yes, it is possible for a student, who is below average, to score equally good. Period.
But it is equally true that one has to work in a planned way in order to score high. Reading standard English i.e. editorials of good newspapers,magazines,etc. is very important if one wants to score good in verbal section. Brushing up one’s grammar also will help a lot. In addition to this, one should watch some good news channels like CNN or BBC on a regular basis. As far as mathematics is concerned, it is not very difficult. But it is tricky. In other words, it is not so difficult that one should get disheartened and it is not so easy that one should ignore it. Like verbal section, mathematics also requires a lot of practice. Hence, studying high school books is very important. But one has to be very specific and should study only relevant portions. Otherwise, a lot of time and energy will be wasted. Keeping time limit in mind, learning short cuts also is necessary.
Having made proper strategies, one should start implementing them immediately. Because an ounce of action is far better than a ton of planning. I would like to quote a famous saying in this context, “An action without vision is a waste of time. And a vision without action is day-dreaming.” In other words, the weaker students will have to do more thorough planning. And not only planning, but more proper execution also is required. So, do not kill your dreams, execute them
The students from vernacular medium have little problem in grammar. But they may face problems in sentence formation or conversation. To overcome these problems, they should read as much as possible. Taking help of print and electronic media is very helpful. If they study with a right and aggressive approach (not physically please) and are regular, they can do as good as convent educated students, and in some cases, even better.Hence, overcome your mental hurdles and start practicing now.